Athletics

"Safety is the first priority" - Dina Asher-Smith not expecting to compete in 2020

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Britain's Dina Asher-Smith poses with her gold medal for the Women's 200m, silver medal for the Women's 100m and silver medal for the Women's 4x100m Relay during the medal ceremony

Image credit: Getty Images

BySportsbeat
31/07/2020 at 17:37 | Updated 31/07/2020 at 17:48

Dina Asher-Smith is preparing for a 20-month hiatus from outdoor competition after revealing she is unlikely to race this year.

The 24-year-old, the first British woman to win a major sprint title, was preparing for a 100m, 200m and relay treble at Tokyo 2020 before Covid-19 intervened.

The track and field calendar has been decimated but six Diamond League meetings remain, starting in Monaco on August 14, and the British Championships have been rescheduled to September.

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Fellow world champion Katarina Johnson-Thompson and Laura Muir have been confirmed for the Herculis meeting in Monaco.

But Asher-Smith looks likely to swerve behind-closed-doors racing and not catching coronavirus is her single priority.

"It's a discussion John (Blackie, coach) and I are still having," said Asher-Smith, appearing on the Backstraight Boys athletics podcast.

"It just depends what's best for the Olympics next year and also how safe the events are that they propose.

"If I'm being honest, besides making sure I'm in good shape, the next biggest risk is getting sick and there's a big illness going round.

"I'm not really desperate to compete, especially if it's not a completely safe race.

"I'm not involved in getting a respiratory disease the year before the Olympics - if you think about it, it's not smart.

"I'm leaning on the side of not competing, but we will have to wait and see and safety is the first priority."

Asher-Smith pared back her competition schedule last year - an oddly-shaped season with the World Championships taking place in October.

Including heats and finals, the triple European champion raced individually 18 times. This compares to 27 in 2018 and 19 in 2017 despite breaking her foot in February of that year.

Having missed the indoor season for the second successive year, Asher-Smith was confirmed for July's Muller Anniversary Games, cancelled in May.

The sprint star feels equipped to deal with a lengthy break and says lockdown has given her a chance to invest in other areas.

"I'm not someone who's fazed by not competing," she said.

"I think it's an opportunity to take stock of what the last two years have been like for me, because my life has changed so much in the past two years.

"What we don't typically get in the sprint calendar, particularly at the elite level, is time and time is a gift. I've spent a lot of time working, trying to get stronger and doing all the things I normally wouldn't have time to do and check up on.

"We've done that from the moment the Olympics was called off, we were strategically planning as if Tokyo 2021 was our immediate goal.

"I'm fortunate that I'm not one of the people who want to race all the time from racing's sake."

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